What is canvassing in a political campaign?
Political campaigning has changed substantially in recent years. Fields experiments carried out by Green and Gerber have proven the high impact that in-person canvassing can have on a voter. Increasing the chances of people turning up to the polls by as much as 20%. But is canvassing purely a numbers game?
We don’t think it’s that simple!
You could be knocking on 100 doors a night but if your focus is on hitting a target instead of communicating a message, sorry, you’re doing it wrong!
We place emphasis on a quality conversation at the door because we know lots of political campaigns are working with limited resources and manpower. Further research has identified that three aspects of quality should be considered: monitoring pace and interactivity, timing, and message.
The idea being canvassers should avoid cramming in election campaign messaging on the doorstep. Instead, canvassers should engage in authentic personal conversation with a voter. In order for an election campaign canvassers to genuinely engage with voters. There is a need for effective training and supervision. So how do we make an impression that matters at the door?
Practice At The Doorstep
Smile and make good eye contact!
This is the most basic rule of voter contact. If you look and sound like you are enjoying yourself, people will be more interested in engaging in conversation with you and discussing what issues are important to them.
As a canvasser, you're here to excite voters about your candidate not to weigh them down with complaints about the opposition or their viewpoints. Comparisons are good but keep a positive outlook. And don't argue with people who disagree with you. Kindly thank them for their time and move on. Your time is valuable, and there are a lot of voters to cover on a door-to-door canvass.
Don’t pretend to be a policy expert.
It’s likely that someone will ask you a question to which you do not know the answer. That’s okay. You should never be afraid to admit you do not know the details of every single party policy. Just direct the voter to the party website where the policies are located.
Follow the key campaign talking points, but speak in a genuine way.
You will be provided with talking points and information on the issues to help you engage voters. But you should use the points as a guide and feel free to explain to voters why you're helping the election campaign. Your personal story will always be the most effective way of engaging with voters.
Make sure to take note of anything voter issue or concern that comes up on the doorstep. Reporting good data from your canvassing is just as important as actually talking to the voters. Understanding what voters think about important issues helps to ensure a successful election campaign.
If you want to learn more about the functionality of Ecanvasser and how we can help you take 2017 by the scruff of the neck, why not pop over to our training page The Campaign Blueprint.